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What’s that? A castle in Toronto, you ask? As incredulous as it sounds, we do have a castle, and it’s called Casa Loma. Of course, Casa Loma’s not a real castle. This is Toronto, after all. But we call the mansion – the largest private home in Canada – one anyway. And I can see it through my apartment window as I type.

Named for the land on which it was built (Casa Loma, or “the house on the hill”), the castle dates back to 1911 and was the home of financier Sir Henry Pellatt. It’s now run by the City of Toronto as a tourist attraction and was refurbished by the Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma with period furnishings, including some of the Pellatts’ originals.

As a child, I loved exploring the rooms (there are secret passageways!) and gardens. As an adult, well, I love saying I live near a castle. And as much as I love being out and about, here and abroad, I always look forward to coming home to my gorgeous view, with Casa Loma in the distance. (Of course, with all the big ol’ trees between us, I can only see it peeking through when the branches are bare!)

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What: Casa Loma, home/castle turned heritage/tourist attraction
Where: 1 Austin Terrace (just 110 steps – phew! – to the top of the hill north of Spadina Road and Davenport Road), Toronto
When: Open daily 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Ticket prices include multimedia tour guide, $20.55 (adults), $14.63 (seniors + youth),  $11.32 (children)
Why: I love learning about the history of Toronto. Plus, it’s in my hood. And it was built on the neighbouring Austin family‘s private golf course (the Austins’ former home, next door to Casa Loma, is now Spadina Museum and is worth a visit too!). That’s a bit of Toronto trivia for you!

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